Everyone’s preconception journey is different, but what is important is that you have a plan in place to create optimal health for both you and your partner prior to conception, and an incredibly healthy pregnancy and entry into motherhood, whether it be your first time or now.
I’ve put together some suggestions to help you consider what your preconception journey might look like. I recommend starting most of these three months prior to conception, with the exception being microbiome testing.
1. Start your detox
Take a break from alcohol, excess caffeine and toxins including injectables. If you haven’t already, avoid hormone disrupting compounds such as BPA and those found in commercial beauty and hygiene products and take away coffee cups. Ideally, shop organic as much as possible. We personally order a fruit and vegetable box each week from Organic Ease.
2. Organize blood testing
There are many tests you can do but the priorities are MTHFR, folate, homocysteine, B12, iron studies, vitamin D, iodine and a full thyroid panel. Remember, standard reference ranges exclude a clinical deficiency, illness or disease, but don’t optimize health. If this is not your first rodeo, it’s likely that you have some deficiences to address as it can take up to four years to recover postpartum. This especially applies if you’ve been nursing in the last six months.
3. Optimise your gut health
In an ideal world, test your microbiome (via a stool test) six months prior to conception and get the right support to rebalance or diversify your biome. With vaginal birth or seeding post C-section, you will pass your biome onto your newborn baby and this sets the foundation for their immune system and most, if not all, aspects of their health ongoing. The two most common tests I use in clinic are GI-MAP and MetaBiome.
4. Focus on nutrient density
Start with a real food template, drink bone broth and eat organ meats. [How many times have you heard this now?]. They are the best ways to address #2 and #3 above, strengthening your gut integrity and providing you with the key building blocks for healthy mumma and bub. Liver especially is packed with vitamin A, folate, iron and more. It’s the OG superfood. Read Why Your Little Ones Should be Eating Paté here.
5. Take your prenatal
A high quality prenatal provides the key nutrients for pre-conception health. This could be a whole article by itself but essentially, include ~400mcg activated folate, avoiding the highly synthetic and poorly absorbed folic acid and therefore products such as Elevit. For more, listen to Pregnancy Insights here.
6. Consider additional supplements
Some may be prescribed by your Doctor, Nutritionist or Naturopath from your blood test results, but here are two foundations to consider.
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for brain and spinal cord development, especially from conception to T1. Fish or vegan (algae) options are available.
- Probiotics – see point #3. The most well documented strains include B. breve, B. longum, B. animalis and LGG.
Stress has a significant impact on your fertility and developing a meditation practice before you have a newborn is key. Cortisol passed via the placenta or breast milk can increase your bubs’ startle reflex and cause their nervous system to be on high alert. This can significantly impair their digestion as ‘fight or flight’ turns off the parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’. Excessive evening cortisol will impair sleep as there is always an inverse relationship to melatonin.
I hope this helps as a starting point? There are so many great subtopics here, so let me know if you’d like to learn more about the timeline, testing, seeding, folate, cortisol and more.
Reach out if you’d like support, I have a limited number of spaces left for new clients and I’d be honoured to play a role in your preconception journey.